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Breast Cancer Tests

Private Home Health Care believes in early detection of breast cancer for the best outcome.  Today we will be sharing information about different tests available for diagnosis.

We have all heard how important it is for us to perform self-exams.  According to research from the John Hopkins Medical Center, at least 40% of breast cancers were discovered by women who performed self-exams.  Knowing how our breasts look and feel is key.

Here are some of the diagnostic tests available:

Imaging Tests

Mammograms – these are recommended for you if you are age 45 or older. If you have a family history or concerns you can get screened earlier.

Ultrasounds – if there is a mass or lump discovered during your mammogram, this test may be ordered by your doctor.  The test can help determine if the mass or lump is filled with fluid or solid. (Not always but often a fluid filled cyst is benign.)

Breast MRI – if you are at high risk your doctor may order this one, but it can have high false positives.  Keep this in mind and discuss with your doctor.

Biopsies

If during your breast imaging test there is a mass or lump discovered, you may need a biopsy.  These are usually outpatient and is another way to find out if the mass is cancerous.  

There are multiple types of biopsies so be sure to speak with your doctor if you get to this stage.

Private Home Health Care knows that there is a lot of information around breast cancer.  We need to be aware of what is available to us so that each of us can have the best outcomes and live our best lives.

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Supporting Breast Cancer Research

Today’s post will list for you different groups that are helping to support breast cancer research this month. Put on those pink ribbons that started in the 1990’s and help cancer research.

Estee Lauder

Making donations for the past 30 years!  You can purchase from their Aerin line of products. 100% of sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation this month.  Visit this website for details: https://www.elcompanies.com/en/our-commitments/the-breast-cancer-campaign/pink-ribbon-products

Jimmy Choo – Do you like Jimmy Choo products? 20% of purchases on the Second Capsule Collection will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Brochu Walker – You can wear the Looker Layered V-neck in Paloma and 20% of October net sales of the brand will be donated to the Breast Cancer Alliance.

Brahmin Handbags – You will love the Pixie Dust Collection. 10% of sales are to be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Additionally . . .

Jane Iredale – Do you need a new blush? 100% of profits on the Rose Hue Blush stick to go to Look Good Feel Better, a complimentary beauty session for those diagnosed with cancer.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – You can find community races or walks across the country.  Visit this website for details: Race For The Cure | Susan G. Komen®

Private Home Health Care is hopeful that we can minimize and hopefully eliminate this disease through continued research.

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Breast Cancer Awareness- Lowering Risk

During breast cancer awareness month it is important to look at multiple aspects of the disease.  Today we are focusing on ways that you can lower your risk of getting breast cancer.

Private Home Health Care researched a few sites and is sharing common recommendations:

Healthy Weight – it’s important that you maintain a healthy weight.  Your height, body fat and muscle composition are all factors in determining what weight is best for each of us. Your BMI or body mass index is a way to determine your ideal weight.  There are BMI calculators online, including one at www.CDC.gov.

Regular Physical Exercise – the recommendation is for you to get 2-½ to 5 hours of moderate exercise or 90 minutes to 2-½ hours of vigorous exercise each week.  A brisk walk 4-5 days a week is one option.  Strength training is a great way to exercise too.

Limit Alcohol – there are many reasons to limit your alcohol intake.  Helping to lower your breast cancer risk is one of them.  You should not have more than one drink a day maximum.  That includes drinking 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of 80-proof hard liquor.

Additionally, breast-feeding may help limit risk.  Limiting post-menopausal hormone therapies may also contribute to lowering risk but a conversation with your doctor is needed to analyze the risk and benefits.

Private Home Health Care realizes that the higher your risk the more you need information.  Genetic counseling, medicines and close follow-up are all options that you may want to discuss with your medical professional.

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Breast Cancer Risk

Private Home Health Care feels we need to understand many aspects of breast cancer to increase awareness.  Better awareness can lead us to early detections. Early detections are key to improved diagnosis. 

Today’s blog will focus on strong risk for the disease.  

Your family history is an indicator which can be hard to change.  Women with Ashkenazi or Eastern European Jewish descent, have an elevated risk for breast cancer.

Get in touch with your healthcare provider if you have a strong risk.  There are additional screenings to discuss.  You want to be able to make informed decisions.

There are two degrees in our family history to be aware of:

First degree – parents, siblings children

Second degree – aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and grandchildren

You should get in touch with your healthcare provider with any of the following in your family history:

  • A breast cancer diagnosis aged 45 or younger
  • Triple negative breast can diagnosis aged 60 or younger
  • Primary cancer of both breasts
  • Breast cancer AND ovarian cancer in the same relative
  • Male breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Two or more first or second degree relative from the same side of the family with breast cancer diagnosis with at least one of the cancer’s before age 50
  • Three or more relatives from the same side of the family with breast or high grade prostate cancer at any age

This information has come from the CDC. 

You can find additional information on Moderate and Average risks on their website: (www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/breast_ovarian_cancer/risk_categories.htm)

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October is dedicated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Throughout this month Private Home Health Care will be covering different topics around Breast Cancer to try and help our readers.

What are the signs of breast cancer?  

After reviewing Susan G Komen Foundation and WebMD information you should be aware of the following warning signs:

A lump or hard knot in your breast or underarm area that does not go away.

Swelling or redness of the breast or collarbone area

Pain or tenderness in your breast that does not go away

A change in the size or shape of your breast, including a flat or indented area

Changes in your nipple including itchy, a rash, pulling inward, dimpled, burns, sores 

Any discharge from the nipple

Many times symptoms are not apparent but if any of the above appear you should contact a health professional.  Early detection is key to a good outcome.

Private Home Health Care will discuss screenings available and ways you can be an advocate for yourself.

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National Love People Day

National Love People Day began fairly recently in 2017 and is always on September 30.  The focus of the day is giving love with your whole heart and expecting nothing in return.

Easy right?  I bet a lot of you give of yourselves every day and perhaps you don’t even realize it.  Do you listen to someone telling a story?  Do you try to help a neighbor?  Do you buy a cup of coffee for a friend? 

Any random act of kindness will do.  The world needs us to be kind to each other now. Life goes by so quickly.  We run into people every day in our lives so there are many opportunities to show kindness.  Trying to be nice can be very invigorating for everyone involved. You can do it without spending any money too.

Private Home Health Care would like to leave you with a poem from an anonymous author.  We couldn’t have said it better.

Kind Hearts

by Anonymous

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits:

Love is the sweet sunshine

That warms into life,

For only in darkness

Grow hatred and strife.

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Women’s Health and Fitness

The last Wednesday of September is dedicated to women’s health and fitness.  The day is for you to become more aware of your health and fitness.

Back in history, women and their health was not a top priority.  If you lived in the 1500’s to the 1900’s you would have had to wear a corset.  You would not be the most comfortable and you might have had issues with your pectoral muscles and perhaps even fainted!  

Women have come a long way and we are free to follow so many different paths.  You and I should be aware of some top health issues and learn how we can improve our outlook.

Here are the top 3 issues for women according to WedMD:

Heart Disease

  • You as a female tend to be undiagnosed and you account for 29% of the deaths due to heart disease.
    • Risks:  age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity.
    • Reducing risks:  well-balanced diet and physical exercise

Breast Cancer

  • This is the most common cancer for women.  Good news:  There are many treatments available to you now.
    • Risks: age, genes, family history, race (white women are at higher risk, early abnormal biopsy or chest radiation.  Also, early onset menstruation (before age 12) or menopause after age 55, no children, too much alcohol and obesity.
    • Reducing risks:  Mammograms, keep a healthy weight, no smoking

Osteoporosis

  • If you have osteoporosis you are one of 68% of women with it out of 44 million cases.
  • Key is to start in early childhood with good calcium intake and physical activity while your bones are growing.  Bones are fully formed by age 30.
    • Risks: female, aging, small thin-boned frame, white and asian women are at most risk, family history anorexia.  Also, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, too much alcohol
    • Reducing risks:  Follow guidelines for calcium intake according to your age and physical exercise.

Private Home Health Care is proud of the strides that women have made.  We want you to be aware of your health. We want you to work with your medical professionals to live your best life.

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Johnny Appleseed Day

Today’s the day you can appreciate the hero Johnny Appleseed for passing on his love of apples and for spreading apple orchards over the United States back in the 1800’s.

Here’s a bit of history about our friend Johnny.

He was born John Chapman on September 26, 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts.  His father fought in the American Revolution and his mother died when he was two years old.

Not much is known about his early life.  He does turn up in 1812 working as an orchardist and nursery man.  History has hin in Pennsylvania and Ohio around that time.  He was planting trees and establishing nurseries.  His trees did not produce edible fruit but he was able to make hard cider and applejack (fruit brandy).  

John was a vegetarian and was against cruelty to all living things, including insects!  He died on March 18, 1845 and the legend was born.

After his death he became known as Johnny Appleseed.  He was seen as a pioneer hero because of all the apple seeds he planted and the trees he grew in his orchards.  His legend has him randomly planting seeds and spreading trees over the Northeastern and Midwestern parts of the United States.  

In truth he was very deliberate in his planting and it was for commercial use to produce alcohol but that’s not usually mentioned so we’ll just let it rest here.

The legend of Johnny Appleseed has led us to a love of apples which are a very healthy fruit.  Juicy apples are full of fiber and Vitamin C.  They also provide antioxidants like Vitamin E and polyphenols which help boost digestion.

Private Home Health Care thinks “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a good adage.  It’s apple season so be sure to enjoy some fresh apples.  With 100+ varieties you have a lot to choose.

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National Family Health and Fitness Day 

Tomorrow is National Family Health and Fitness Day.  This day was started in 1996 by the Health and Resource Information Center.  The goal is to elevate our awareness around health and fitness in our families.

Health and Fitness is for everyone in our families, young and old.  Exercise is good for the mind and the body.  There are so many fun activities to do as a family for every season.

We are entering the season of fall and soon it will be winter.  There are many great activities to do as a family, including grandparents and aunts and uncles.   

Autumn Fun

You can take a nature hike or go apple picking and walk in the orchards. Play a game of flag football or ride a bike.

Winter Fun

Why don’t you take a walk in a local mall?  Try taking the stairs instead of an escalator.  How about going ice skating or sledding or just playing in the snow.  There’s always an exercise video for all ages.

To try and stay your healthiest it’s recommended that your children do 60 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week.  For you, the adult, 30 minutes is recommended.

Private Home Health Care understands that our lives get busy and sometimes it’s hard to find time for everything.  We do believe however that taking the time for fitness starting at a young age can lead to a healthy, happy and long life.  

#exercise

#healthylifestyles

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Alzheimer’s Disease

This disease is often discussed this time during World Alzheimer’s Day.  There are still many people dealing with it, both patients and caregivers. The good news is that there is ongoing research.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 6 million people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s.  This is with a total population in the United States of 335,289,877 as of 2022.

Currently, being studied is a condition called mild cognitive impairment or (MCI).  MCI is memory or thinking problems.  As you age, you can have lapses in names, or for words for things.  This can be normal. 

Memory can develop into MCI if things worsen.  If you lose things often or if you forget to go to appointments.  Another sign is if you are missing words more often than your friends. This is the time to reach out to a doctor for advice.

MCI is a condition that can lead to Alzheimer’s.  The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that about a third of those people diagnosed with MCI, dementia usually develops within five years.

The hopeful news.  The Alzheimer’s Association is conducting New Ideas Studies.  They involve brain imaging to study MCI, dementia and Alzheimer’s.  The studies are robust involving about 7,000 people.  The study includes people from a variety of racial and ethnic groups.   

If you are interested in learning more about these studies here is a link:  https://www.alz.org/research/new-ideas-study

Private Home Health Care understands the importance of studies.  They can give us a window into a disease that affects so many elderly people.

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